Speaker Feature Series: An Interview with Vanessa Mason, a Wellbeing Design Futurist.

At Women Talk Design, we’re on a mission to see a more diverse group of speakers on stage. Our Speaker Directory has more than 500 incredible women and nonbinary folks who speak on different topics around the world. This 2020 get ready to know more about them every week with a blog post interview for our weekly Speaker Feature. 

Vanessa Mason headshot

This week we spoke with Vanessa Mason to get to know her better as a speaker. Vanessa Mason is the Research Director for IFTF’s Future 50 Partnership, a network of future-smart organizations that support strategic foresight research into the urgent futures that will shape the next decade across the business, social, and civic spheres. 

“Infuse your personality and your personal story  in your talks to share that authenticity.”

–Vanessa Mason

Vanessa shared with us so much great advice about how to become a speaker and useful tips to improve health and wellbeing in 2020. Check it out in our interview below!

Why do you speak?

At first, I started speaking to prove to myself I could. I had severe stage fright, but I couldn’t stand the feeling of missing out because of fear. Now, I speak because I know the insights and knowledge I have to share help people not feel alone and help them connect to others and make their work more impactful.

Tell us about your first speaking engagement?

I started speaking in 2012 when I led XX in Health, a national initiative supporting female innovators in health. I never dreamed of being a speaker or plan on being one.

What topics are you most excited to speak about right now?

Designing future-ready organizations, the future of belonging, and inclusive design in healthcare.

What advice would you give to new speakers?

Be your best authentic self. Your audience doesn’t just care about what you have to say. They care about why you’re saying it and how your unique background and perspective shape that message. Infuse your personality and your personal story in your talks to share that authenticity.

What are your tips for how we can improve our health and wellbeing in 2020? 

  • Tend to your environment. Light, noise, smells, and fresh air all affect how you feel physically and mentally on a day to day basis. Be sure to get enough sunlight, use white noise or calming music to mitigate low key anxiety, light a candle or get a diffuser, and spend time outside.
  • Do a growth inventory. If you’ve celebrated a number of birthdays, you’ve likely learned from some mistakes that you’ve made, enjoyed some planned and surprise successes, and grown emotionally in ways that you may not be aware of. Take the time to reflect and recognize the ways that you have grown into a better version of yourself. 
  • Make self-care work for you. Self-care isn’t always about bubble baths and fluffy slippers. Sometimes it’s making responsible financial decisions or even taking taxing decisions off of your plate by automating some of those decisions.
  • Find your community. You are not the only person with your set of challenges or uncertainties. You don’t have to shoulder those burdens or questions alone if you find others with the same doubts or goals that you have. If you can’t find a community that exists, build the one that you wish existed.

We hope you enjoyed our interview with Vanessa as much as we did!

Vanessa is working on launching an online course that helps professional women to align their self-expression with their personal style, creative ideas, and positively impact the long-term financial future and the environment. Sound like a great way to kick 2020 off right? Make sure you follow her on social media to get the latest about this amazing course!

To learn more about her speaker topics and experience check out her full speaker profile on the Women Talk Design website.